With its prestigious university, established in the 12th century, and the city’s medieval centre, Oxford’s architecture led poet Matthew Arnold to nickname it the City of Dreaming Spires. Here are some of our favourite spots.
Christ Church College
Christ Church was originally founded by Cardinal Wolsey as Cardinals College in 1524. The college buildings took over the site of St Frideswide’s Monastery, which was suppressed by Wolsey to fund his college. Two of its famous landmarks, Tom Tower, by Christopher Wren, and Oxford’s Cathedral spire, contribute to the city’s celebrated skyline and mark Christ Church as a unique dual foundation; one of Oxford University’s largest Colleges and the Cathedral Church for the Diocese of Oxford.
Bridge of Sighs
Hertford Bridge, popularly known as the Bridge of Sighs, is a skyway joining two parts of Hertford College over New College Lane in Oxford, England. Its distinctive design makes it a city landmark. The bridge is often referred to as the Bridge of Sighs because of its supposed similarity to the famous Bridge of Sighs in Venice.
The Radcliffe Camera is a building of Oxford University, designed by James Gibbs in neo-classical style and built in 1737-49 to house the Radcliffe Science Library. It is part of the Bodleian Libraries. Oxford’s libraries are among the most celebrated in the world, not only for their incomparable collections of books and manuscripts, but also for their buildings, some of which have remained in continuous use since the Middle Ages.
Hardy’s Sweet Shop
A traditional sweet shops supplying old fashioned, retro sweets, with stores in London, Cambridge, Oxford, Canterbury, Windsor and Bath.
New College was founded in 1379 by William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester, as ‘the college of St Mary of Winchester at Oxford’. Wykeham had risen from modest beginnings in rural Hampshire to become the chief minister of Edward III, his parvenu status being reflected in his self-confident personal motto adopted by his college: ‘Manners Makyth Man’. Architecturally, New College was innovative in its enclosed quadrangle (finished 1386). The cloisters were completed in 1400.
The ‘dreaming spires’ of Oxford are internationally recognised as a symbol of the city and its university. Walk into and through Oxford’s countryside setting and look back on the city’s domes, towers and spires from the green valley or hillsides.
Punts on the river
Punting on the river is one of the activities synonymous with the city. Oxford’s Magdalen Bridge Boathouse is the spot to hire a traditional punt to cruise along the stunning River Cherwell.
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